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LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning


The sevens game described

Rugby sevens has been steadily growing in popularity over recent years. The announcement that the game is to be played at the summer Olympic Games of 2016 has also popularized the sport (Engebretsen et al 2010). Recent data indicates that the sevens game is played in over 100 countries with estimates of more than 31,000 teams participating in the game with over 315,000 players (World Rugby data 2014).

In this section we describe the demands of the sevens game for men and women. It must be noted that with the accessibility of Global Positioning System software in recent years, a greater depth of information on the demands of Rugby Union, be it in the 15-a-side game or Rugby sevens game is now available.

A Rugby sevens game is played for 14 minutes (two 7 minute halves). Teams play with 7 players and the rules are similar to the 15-a-side game. The game is played on a full-size 15-a-side Rugby pitch. Recent studies have indicated that the game involves repetitive high speed running with short recoveries between running bouts as well as frequent intense physical contact and collision events (Suarez-Arrones et al 2012, 2014, Higham et al 2012, 2013) regardless of the level of play.

Figure 1. High speed running is a feature of the sevens game.

Typically, sevens games are played in a tournament format. This means that players may participate in several games within a short period of time, for example, tournaments may require teams to play between two and five games over a period of 48 hours.

In this topic, we will examine the specific demands of Rugby sevens for both men and women. An understanding of the physical demands helps us to prescribe training and conditioning that better prepares players to perform at all levels of the game. For example, knowing the ratio of work to rest periods in the game allows the S&C coach to plan appropriate and specific work to rest practices when devising conditioning drills or games.